Mindfulness and meditation are often viewed as practices that can bring peace and wellness to our lives. However, a deeper look into the subject reveals that mindfulness and meditation can also lead to negative outcomes for some individuals. This article will delve into the potential side-effects of mindfulness and meditation practices, so that you can be informed and make an informed decision about whether or not these practices are right for you.
Introduction to the Negative Outcomes of Mindfulness and Meditation
Not all mindfulness practices include formal meditation, however, research has shown that meditation can lead to negative effects such as anxiety, depersonalization, and depression. A study conducted by Brown University in 2017 found that 82% of meditators experienced emotional side effects like anxiety, panic, and paranoia at some point in their practice.
Though little research has been conducted on the negative effects of meditation, it is important to note that not everyone who meditates will experience adverse effects.
Can Meditation Really Be Bad For You?
Despite the numerous benefits associated with mindfulness, including the reduction of stress and enhancement of positive emotions, it is important to consider the potential downsides.
Meditation has been studied for its potential health benefits, and numerous mindfulness-based interventions are being used for conditions like stress, addiction, chronic pain, mood disorders, psychiatric disorders, and more, with promising results. It may even improve one’s sex life!
Why are There Negative Outcomes Associated with Mindfulness and Meditation?
While thousands of studies have been conducted to examine the positive effects of meditation, the process of monitoring and evaluating its adverse effects, known as harm monitoring, is difficult. In fact, over 75% of research studies on meditation do not measure or monitor its side effects.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, Willoughby Britton, conducted and published the largest study on meditation-related problems in 2017. Through interviews with 100 meditation teachers and meditators, Britton discovered common symptoms of meditation-related problems including hyper-arousal, increased anxiety, fear, panic, insomnia, trauma flashbacks, and emotional instability.
Mindfulness and meditation can also lead to heightened sensory sensitivity, such as a heightened sensitivity to light and sound. This can cause sounds to become irritating or distracting, making it difficult to leave the house.
Additionally, mindfulness has been linked to the development of new psychological problems or the aggravation of existing ones.
Other research suggests that the negative effects of mindfulness can lead to the development of new psychological problems or the aggravation of existing problems.
It is important to note that little research has been conducted on the negative effects of meditation, and that not everyone who meditates will experience adverse effects.
The Reality of “Zen Sickness”
Various Buddhist traditions have long recognized the potential for meditation to trigger negative sensations and experiences, which have been described as “Zen sickness” or “meditation sickness.” Nyams, or meditation experiences, can range from bliss and visions to pain, paranoia, anger, sadness, and fear.
“Zen traditions have also long acknowledged the possibility for certain practice approaches to lead to a prolonged illness-like condition known as ‘Zen sickness’ or ‘meditation sickness.'”
Zen sickness has been referred to as “The Dark Night” by some meditators is a prolonged illness-like condition that some meditators experience.
“It is certainly the case that almost everyone who gets anywhere with meditation will pass through periods of negative emotion, confusion, disorientation, and heightened sensitivity to internal and external arisings.” – Shinzen Young, Minfulness Teacher
The Potential Side-Effects Of Mindfulness & Meditation
While some view meditation as a mental or emotional tool, it has been proven that meditation can also affect the body physically. In the 2017 study by the researchers from Brown University and the University of California , subjects reported feeling pain, pressure, involuntary movements, headaches, fatigue, weakness, and gastric discomfort.
Almost half of the participants in the 2017 study reported delusional, irrational, or paranormal thoughts while meditating. Additionally, executive function, or the ability to control yourself, was affected.
Researchers at Seattle Pacific University in 2009 confirmed these findings, showing that people who meditated felt delusional as well.
Besides, meditation could be a bad idea for procrastinators and people who have trouble focusing: the 2017 study found meditation could create a serious lack of motivation.
The Importance of Monitoring Your Mental Health
If you’re experiencing any negative side effects from your mindfulness or meditation practice, it’s important to speak with a mental health professional. They can help you determine whether these effects are temporary or indicative of a larger problem, and provide you with the support and guidance you need to address the situation.
Mindfulness & Meditation: Finding the Right Balance
Despite the potential for negative side effects, mindfulness and meditation are still widely regarded as powerful tools for promoting mental and physical health. With proper guidance and a commitment to monitoring your mental health, you can reap the benefits of these practices and lead a happier, healthier life.
So, if you’re considering incorporating mindfulness or meditation into your daily routine, be sure to approach it with caution and an awareness of the potential risks. And remember, if you experience any negative side effects, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.